knitter’s block

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the moss shawl is done! i finished the bind-off last night. i wanted to get it done before class yesterday, but i couldn’t. so it sat half-done for hours, on the last leg of it’s knitting. it came off the needles at about 45-46 inches. eeuw . . . that worried me; it sounds small. it is knit of superwash, so i am hopeful.

aside from that, doesn’t it look godawful? all misshapen like that.

into the soaking tub it went, where i left it for about an hour. i use meadows wool wash for all my woolens. i love the way it makes the fabric feel, and it has naturally moth-repelling scent added (4 choices). oops, it bled a little, but not too much.

soaking it softens the wool and opens up the lace quite a bit.

next i folded it into a lingerie bag and put it in the handwash cycle of the machine. i love the handwash cycle; we wash ALL our handknits in it (er, i mean, david does) (wink, thank-you david!). i even wash my handspun yarn in it! it is better than actual handwashing in my opinion, even if only because it encourages one to wear all handknits without the burden of handwash drudgery. but, it really helps the wool bloom, and i love that i can get everything spun out nicely, so as not to be handling sopping wet items (especially for sweaters; this improves the post-wash shaping process almost to the level of “fun”).

i spread it out on a clean sheet on top of a wool rug in the living room. you can see here how much the patterns have spread out already. BTW, i leave the ends hanging until it’s blocked, and weave them in later, so they don’t impede the stretching at all.

then i start pinning. here is a series of photos from prewash through the pinning process. first, right off the needles and then right out of the wash.

then i pin out all the points, measuring across the whole piece from point to point as i go, to maintain an equal width across all four sides. after that i pin out the rounded edges of the twin leaf motif.

i use the edges of the sheet as a reference point for keeping my shawl edges straight and corners square. most of the time i eyeball the straightness, preferring not to get too hung up on exact measuring. same for distance apart on the points; i do not like to get all OCD about being exact (i do that while i knit). i have a good eye, anyway. i like there to be the evidence of the hand in the final result. just like when you go to a museum and the old handmade pieces look a little wonky, even when they are spectacular.

so anyway, the shawl pins out to be 59 inches. WOW! i am surprised it came out that big; it will be fine. all my worries about the size were unfounded.

the shawl’s patterns are always so striking the first time i see them stretched-out like this. it makes my heart race. no, really, it does. i did that; i thought that up, and then i knit it.

tomorrow, i’ll photograph it all finished and artfully arranged, like in vogue knitting or something (hahahahaha!). hmmm, i might need a model for that. oh, yarn boy . . .

4 thoughts on “knitter’s block

  1. Wow, beautiful shawl! What a difference from before and after. Thanks for all the details on your blocking process — very interesting. It must have been a pain to pin out all of those rounded corners.
    I’ve never tried Meadows Wool Wash. I use Eucalan lavender, which I like but I’m not really thrilled with either of the scent options they have. I just googled the Meadows stuff and I like the range of scents they offer better — but what the heck does “penny royal” smell like?

  2. thank you! it’s always stuning to see the effects of blocking on lace . . .
    i don’t know what pennyroyal smells like, but it doesn’t sound good! what comes to mind is kind of herbal-ish in a weedy way (hahahaha!).
    i love the patchouli scent personally, but that is an acquired taste. the soap is wonderful and you only need about a teaspoon to wash a lot of wool.

  3. Oh my gosh Anne, this is unbelievable. I bet in person it is even more beautiful than in a picture. Your a very talented person.I am continually amazed.

  4. I had the privilidge of seeing this shawl in person and let me tell you, this photo does it absolutely No justice. This is GORGEOUS!!

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